The Expanse Review: “The One-Eyed Man,” “Saeculum,” “Cibola Burn”

The extraordinary fourth season of The Expanse comes to a conclusion– with happiness, hope, death, and danger.

Titles: “The One-Eyed Man,” “Saeculum,” “Cibola Burn”

Cast and Crew

Director: Sarah Harding, Breck Eisner
Writers: Dan Nowak, Naren Shankar, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham
Adapted from the novels by Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (as James S.A. Corey)

Steven Strait as James R. Holden
Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Frankie Adams Roberta “Bobbie” Draper
David Strathairn as Commander Klaes Ashford
Cara Gee as Camina Drummer
Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala
Frances Fisher as Elise Holden
Thomas Jane as Joe Miller
Michael Benyaer as Arjun
Nadine Nicole as Clarissa Mao
Burn Gorman as Adolphus Murtry
Kris Holden-Ried as Coop
Rosa Gilmore as Dr. Lucia Mazur
Lyndie Greenwood as Dr. Elvi Okoye
Jess Salgueiro as Chandra Wei
Benz Antoine as McCourt
Chad L. Coleman as Col. Frederick Lucius Johnson
Lily Gao as Nancy Gao
Keon Alexander as Marco Inaros
Jasai Chase Owens as Felip
Dayle McLeod as Leelee
Madison Walsh as Campaign Manager
Maxim Respublicanschii as Charlie
Michael Xavier as Thomas
Michelle Alexander as Pizzouza Skipper
Kolton Stewart as David Draper
Kyla Madeira as Felcia
Jamaal Grant as Barbapiccola Captain
Meghan Allen as Tynan XO
Patti Kim as Carol Chiwewe
Tara Rosling as Officer Adams
Tim Campbell as Beltran
Steven McCarthy as Jakob
Vicki Kim, Chai Valladares as Aides

Premise

The crew of the Rocinante and the colonists find a path out of their difficulties, Avasarala faces personal and political setbacks, Klaes Ashford leads to mission to stop Marcos, and Bobbie begins to realize the magnitude of the conspiracy she has discovered.

The conclusion may just rock your world.

High Points

Ashford’s arc comes to a heroic and finely-acted conclusion. Like so much of the show, the character’s development feels rooted in the history that we have observed.

Low Points

The Ilus IV plots make for highly engaging television, but (despite the alien nature of the world) they also feel the most conventional. The characters face danger upon danger (including a character who comes the closest to anyone in the series to cackling villainy), and then, in the nick of time, discover nearly-magic solutions. Of course, the show manages these things very well.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The show does not avoid familiar tropes, but each season manages to be distinctly different from the others.

Effects: 6/6 This seasons contains some of the show’s most impressive visuals.

Acting: 6/6 I was impressed, in particular, with David Strathairn’s performance. Shohreh Aghdashloo, meanwhile, demonstrates the complexity of her character.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Story: 6/6 Despite adapting material from a main-arc novel and a related novella, this season coheres in the end. We have an excellent starting point for next season, and I look forward to it with anticipation and dread.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 6/6

In total, the final three episodes of The Expanse, Season Four, receive 38/42

3 replies on “The Expanse Review: “The One-Eyed Man,” “Saeculum,” “Cibola Burn””

  1. J_W_W says:

    The payoffs on Illus are exhilarating and chathartic, although it sometime felt like there was 1 or 2 too many hardships.

    The final scene with Amos and Murtry was amazing, the look in Amos eyes and his “thank you” were terrifyingly intense. Amazing acting, just amazing.

    The setup for next year is terrifying too. It’ll be interesting to see how compelling a big bad Marcos will be.

    On to yet another season completely different from the others.

    I love this show.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:
    That's a good way to put it. Over the course of the season, that was my favorite plot. However, some of the dangers and last-minute ex machina seemed excessive in the latter episodes. In the end, I don’t really have a particular weak point for these episodes, so the best I can say is, I thought the last third of that plot felt just slightly overdone, especially given the show’s emphasis on being more realistic than similar shows. In the end, this is one of the strongest seasons of one of the best shows on television. It approaches what a writer/aerospace engineering friend has said he would really like to see on TV, “The Wire in space.”

  3. lost says:

    When that’s what you have for a low point, it says something about the overall quality of a show, doesn’t it?

Comments are closed.